Academic journal article Journal of Markets & Morality

Critical Analysis of the First Concepts of Social Economy (1857)

Academic journal article Journal of Markets & Morality

Critical Analysis of the First Concepts of Social Economy (1857)

Article excerpt

Preface

The proposition we have in our hands was taken up by us, the reader will certainly recall, not primarily with the intent of conducting a course on social economy but merely to indicate some fundamental points to those who take pleasure in such studies, points either not perceived or distorted by many economists due to lack of faith, or at least to lack of Catholic sentiment. (1) Under that aspect, we hoped to spare our readers the annoyance of certain rudimentary elements, which if required absolutely for a complete course, could well be taken for granted or overlooked when writing for the use of amateurs.

However, coming to the execution, the work seemed to take on another aspect to us. On the one hand, we saw that without straightening out or clarifying the first concepts, economic theories would come out incomplete and equivocal. On the other hand, this study of the first rudiments--conducted not with the pedantry of a professor but with the curiosity of the critic--seemed to us potentially no less pleasurable than any other treatment for those who delight in such subjects. Therefore, before proceeding further, it ought not to displease the reader that with a nod to analysis around the elementary ideas of economic science we pave the road for understanding that which must successively be treated. Furthermore, it might as well be said the love of Italians for economic studies gained fervor precisely in that period during which our literature was becoming "Frenchified," as philosophy was turning Voltairean. Thus, it naturally had to happen, being natural enough that affection for the worldly interests contemplated by economics should increase in proportion to the obscuring of faith in heavenly hopes. Italy had therefore, after the mid-eighteenth century, its Genovesi and Filangeri and Galiani and Beccaria and Verri and so many others of similar temper, in whom the study of the economists vied with the disbelief of the encyclopedists. (2) From the ferment of this putridness swarmed a language altogether Frenchified as well, that made speaking of the economy with a sincerely Italian tongue nearly impossible. Not ringing true either to us or to our readers, longing to be Italians in language, as in affection, thought, and blood, we have believed it is now opportune to explain terms, even to recall here and there certain more straightforward categories, such that Italians can well dispense with the tower of barbarisms on loan from the foreigner.

Here, moreover, we feel the duty to make a warning, or protest, if you prefer. You already know, dear reader, by whom the Civilta Cattolica is written and with which intentions. Consecrated as we are singly to the cause of God and of the Church, we would believe it would profane our pen if we were to write a syllable that would directly or indirectly not tend to the advancement of the interests of God and of the Church, which is to say the propagation of moral truth and of justice. However, in this noble and arduous undertaking we are guided, as every Catholic, by two reverberations of the infinite light: one shining in our intellect, naturally made a mirror of that light by work of the creative power; the other resounding for all the faithful from the infallible authority of the Church, depository of the Word of eternal life. When in this second reverberation we read clearly determined social doctrines that we will be discussing, we would injure the truth if we hesitated to pronounce these oracles. Yet, nonetheless, we speak as that divine Maestro, from whom these come tanquam potestatem habentes; neither does it matter at all to us that the firmness of our faith, in a century that has lost all conviction in doctrine along with the faith, be condemned as proud and arrogant. So much the worse for you, misguided skeptics, if rebelling against the light from heaven, you grope like blind men even in the sciences of the visible and worldly, the first roots of which remain always hidden in heaven in the fecund breast of the Creator. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.